Ugh, Computer Problems - Can Anyone Help?

Updated on December 15, 2010
T.A. asks from Sacramento, CA
12 answers

I desperately need some computer advice. We have a Gateway computer with Vista (I hate vista by the way!!!). We bought the computer brand new about 2 ½ years ago and have had nothing but problems with it. We thought it had a virus but we have anti-virus software and it states that ‘it cannot detect any viruses’ on it. We have tried 3 other anti-virus software programs .... two through our two different ISP’s that we’ve had since getting the computer and two that we bought ourselves. They all say the same thing, no viruses detected, so I’m almost positive that our problems are not being caused by a virus.

We keep having problems every time we turn around with this computer! We fix one problem, then another problem pops up, and almost immediately. We are spending so much time fixing problems that we don’t enjoy using the computer at all. We’ve had different programs suddenly become corrupted (Media Player, Internet Explorer, etc.). I read on-line this is common with Vista, it will cause your programs to become corrupted. Our Cannon All-in-One Printer is not working properly now (it is also fairly new, got it with the computer). It says it has a paper jam, we cannot find any paper jams or a corner piece of paper stuck in the printer, etc. I realize that this may be unrelated to the other computer problems but I’m throwing it out there in case it isn’t. The newest problem is that the computer will not properly shut down. It will not do anything when we click on the shut down button. I’m not sure how to shut it down without doing a hard shut down (or whatever they call it?). I know this is not very good for the computer so I avoid shutting down this way. So we have just been leaving it on since we don’t know what to do. I’m tired of spending so much time on the phone with Tech Support (1.5 hours + each time!!!). We switched ISP and now have a wireless router thinking that may help (plus we want to get a laptop in near future), it hasn’t, except for the fact that the internet may be a little faster than before. Now our home phone will not ring nor will our answering machine pick-up. The ISP is through our phone company but this is not dial up it’s a wireless router modem. We get a dial tone and can call out but no one can call in. Somehow I think our computer is responsible. So now I’ll be stuck on the phone yet again tonight, ugh!!! This is how my evenings and weekends are being spent now.

By the way, we don’t even use the computer that much and are very careful with it. We don’t mistreat it. I work on a computer at my workplace all day without problems.

So my questions are the following:

* Should we try and uninstall Vista and go with another Windows application? Is this something I can do myself? Where do I find info on how to do this? Does anyone know if Windows is offering this download for free since there Vista program is nothing but a problem?

* I’m also thinking about just taking the computer off the internet and using if for my four year old to play games on (not on-line games just those games that we’ve installed in the computer which will probably get corrupted but I guess we can reinstall as needed). So this way we will be ditching the whole PC (except for her use).

* Does anyone have any recommendations on a Mac Laptop? I want to get a laptop but I’m so fed up with PC and Windows that I’m seriously considering getting a Mac Laptop. From what I’ve been reading Mac users seem to be very content.

Any suggestions on how to fix this computer or if it’s even worth fixing? It was an expensive computer $1,000+ so I hate to give up on it but at the same time it’s draining me of my time, patience, etc.

Thanks for reading!!!

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So What Happened?

Thanks so much for all the advice. The computer is shutting down properly now which is a releif. The printer I haven't tried tinkering with it again but will try the air can suggestion. I never thought to do that! I'm hoping that will do the trick. I think we're going to try and keep the PC and get a MacNotebookPro as well. Just because we need a laptop and this way if our PC crashes will have the Mac to fall back on. Plus I can compare OS, programs, etc. and see which one we like the best and then prob chose one OS and go with it. i.e. f we become Mac people all other puchases will be Mac purchases no more PC's. I don't plan to install the Window stuff on my Mac like some people do as I think that would be a mistake. I'm hating Windows (wheter Vista, XP-which I use at work, etc.) so I'm more than willing to give the Mac a try. If it works like it claims to I'm sure that will be our OS pick. I'm just not entirely sure my daughter can do her school assignments on the Mac so that's why I'm chosing to keep the PC up and operating for the time being. I have to admit, I'm having a little bit of sticker shock when I look at the prices for the Mac but then I read the on-line reviews and it sounds like it would be well worth it unlike my current PC & OS.

Featured Answers



answers from Pittsburgh on

You could try:
Unplugging it and re-starting that way (same with the printer).
Reinstall all software.
Find a 14 yo kid who could probably fix it in 30 minutes.
Get a Mac.
LOVE my iMac and MacBook Pro.
Microsoft sucks.

"Once you go Mac, you never go back!"

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Raleigh on

I'm an IT professional. Your problem is both Gateway and Windows Vista. I say ditch the Gateway, and get you a nice HP or DELL laptop with Windows 7 on it- they are really cheap this time of year (I wouldn't spend over $800 on a home laptop). You can buy an upgrade to Windows 7 just about anywhere, but you aren't going to get it for free- sorry. I have both a PC desktop and Mac Air Pro laptop, both connecting to my wireless router. I have no problems with my PC, but then again, I don't run Vista. And honestly, 2 1/2 years is a pretty decent lifespan for a computer these days. The technology is already outdated after 6 mos of buying something new.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I highly recommend the Mac! I've been a Mac for 7 years now and rarely have had any problems with them. Now that they have intel chips in them you can also run a windows environment if you need one for something.
As to the printer no great suggestions on a new one but have you tried cleaning it out with canned air? Sometimes dust can mess with the sensors.



answers from Cheyenne on

Hey Sweety,
You will probley get lots of oppions about what is the right computer. Everyone has there favorets, as do I. However I can understnad you not wanting to get rid of your computer. I too am no IT pro, but if it where me I would do 2 things. First I would go out and get GOOD Anti Virus. I use Norton 360 and I like it alot. Befor you install that however, when you got your computer it should have came with some back up CDs. I would first install this. This will wipe your computer ove EVERYTHING!!! So make ure you have back up on a thum drive or something. This can take a whill jsut so you know. When you reinstall the back up cds on your computer it will take it make to like how it was when you first bought it. Then Befor I did anything else I would install your Anti Virus.
If that dose not appeal to you look into computer repar shops around where you live. They should be able to help and fix the proble. Our computer shope around here charg 50 buck on up. Call around tell them whats goin on and ask them how much they think it wold set you back.
I hope this helped a little, or that you can find the answer you looking for!!!



answers from Redding on

Both my friend and sister got Vista and they both hate it.
My sister literally just gave up as she doesn't use the computer much at all.
My friend, however, really relies on hers for banking, etc.
She always does her updates and has great anti-virus so she knows it's not that. She is constantly having to uninstall and re-install and I don't even know what. She can't afford another computer so she deals with it, but she's pretty savvy and still has problems.
It might be worth having someone look at it for you so you at least know how to manage problems when they pop up. My friend often can't use her computer for a whole day until she does a bunch of steps to get things back on track.
I had a circuit problem in my house...a wiring issue and, and my computer would just shut down along with everything else connected to the circuit. I just did a system restore and it brought things back up without losing anything.
Tech support was no help at all with my computer and I don't even have Vista. They told me I had a virus and I needed to buy all this software that was hundreds of dollars. My son and I got it worked out and no....I had no virus.

I hope you get some great advice. I'm not much help other than to say that Vista has been a headache for more people than just you.

Best wishes.



answers from Louisville on

Mom has a Dell w/Vista on it - and hates it! Computer really isn't that old, but the geek squad told her it isn't worth fixing as the compacitor (think that's what she relayed - been a bit back) is going out. Vista just bites a lot of the times - don't know if it's certain ones that have more glitches or what.

And Windows 7 is just an updated/upgraded version of Vista!



answers from Honolulu on

I love my iMac.
SO easy.

For you, call a real Computer Tech to come to your house.
If you don't know what you are doing... it may get worse.

You probably have to re-install and re-load everything. The OS (operating system).

I would REALLY (if you do not have one already), get an EXTERNAL hard-drive.... and BACK-UP everything on your computer. Otherwise, you will lost everything.

Or, you could be having these problems.. because your current Hard-drive or Mother-Board is dying. Thus... the issues you are having now. That is what happens, when a computer hard-drive or Mother-board is dying.
Or, you need to get the 'updates' and patches for your computer and all the software.... including for your printer etc.

Time for a new computer.

BACK-UP everything on your computer. NOW. Or you will lose everything.

MAC computers... are awesome!
I hated my PC. My iMac is SO much easier.

Gateway and Vista, sucks.

Get a MAC.

Do NOT turn off your computer and back-up everything. Pronto.

I strongly suggest, your computer is on its last leg. Dying.

all the best,


answers from Los Angeles on

Have you tried taking it to a computer IT computer mom and pop store for trouble shooting? You can also have them come to your house and do it onsite. They'll clean it all up. We've spent about $100 doing this in the past after we couldn't completely rid ourselves of a virus that was hiding in our system. Well worth the money spent.


answers from Modesto on

you might need more ram... it takes 4mb to run vista right.



answers from Minneapolis on

OK i have to agree with the MAC lovers below. My brother is an IT geek and he kept pushing me to get mac and i was nervous it would be a big adjustment and harder to use. SOOOOO not the case! Downloading things are easier, I am not bombarded daily with virus issues, and overall has been easy to use. If you can afford to id suggest getting a macbook. There are many Apple stores around and they can help you with any questions you may have. Good luck!!



answers from San Francisco on

I had a computer (not a gateway) with Vista on it and it was the most frustrating thing! The hardware started to go out and I nursed that thing along as I HATE buying new computers, but I hated the constant freezing up, I had to reinstall software (corrupt like yours, probably from having to hard boot the computer so much). Computers should last longer in my opinion but, I finally had to give it up and bought a laptop (toshiba) with Windows 7. It is SUCH an improvement! If some of the software I used came in a MAC version, that is probably the way I would go but what I have now is working really well! (knock on wood ;-).


answers from San Diego on

Try Hitman Pro, it's downloadable from download section. We were having a world of problems that Norton &Ad-Aware were missing. Hitman Pro found the changed registry entries and corrected them. Norton said it blocked the attack attempt but obviously it did not completely. I was unable to get to the Windows update page and get updates for my anti-virus programs as well until HItman Pro found them. It's a 30 day free trial, after that if you don't buy it it will still scan your computer but not fix anything without buying it.
Vista has a lot of issues. I have it on my laptop and I hate it like the plague. There are many things that are set by default that just make everything not work.
I would try Hitman Pro first though.

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